Ummagma is an indie duo that includes Alexx (Sasha) Kretov and Shauna McLarnon, who first met in Moscow back in 2003, where they began to make music together. They are now based in Ukraine and, after eight years together (as musicians and as a couple), they have finally released two debut albums at the same time – a non-standard approach, albeit an interesting one.
Given the fact that Alexx is Ukrainian and that Shauna is Canadian, the two evidently have different origins and histories, not to mention divergent music influences. These are perhaps some of the factors that have ultimately made Ummagma such a potent musical cocktail. Not only do they represent a delightful and broad mish-mash of genres – dream pop, ethereal, post-rock, post-punk, progressive rock, shoegaze and ambient – but they can sometimes even mix different genres right within a song. The effect is impressive – this duo has effectively generated what can be considered a unique dreamy dynamic and eclectic sound.
Ummagma seems to represent a balance between Alexx’s and Shauna’s personalities and their music guides us through the group’s development – the self-titled album “Ummagma” gives us some insight into their earlier years together in Moscow and Kiev, while “Antigravity” reflects a mix of melancholy and extreme joy of migration, the arrival of a child, and their different life experiences in Canada and Ukraine. The listener can get aurally lost in these journeys – with Alexx’s dreamy voice and impressive instrumental skill, and with Shauna’s intoxicating vocals, together they create diverse rich atmospheres set against luscious dream pop soundscapes and textures.
Together, their twin debut albums include 24 songs that are so good that they really should be heard together.